It's not just any community - it's yours

17 Apr 2009 - 3:38pm

Special to the Bonanza

By Claudia Andersen

Community, what is it exactly? It is certainly more than common
geography. Is it a concept, a feeling, an experience? There are
probably as many answers to that question as there are individuals
living in our “neck of the woods.” Having said that, I bet most would
agree that while they might not be able to describe it in words, they
know it when they see it, feel it or experience it. And there is a lot
of “it” going around lately.

I had the pleasure of
experiencing my first Incline Star Follies show this year and you could
certainly feel community in the air. Young, old, short, tall, show biz
savvy and beginner alike — the fellowship and good wishes were
palpable. All of these stars came together and practiced like crazy
while still keeping up with their daily routines with the goal of
benefiting our children’s education and future.

I was reminded
of being a child and getting such a kick out of seeing adults behave a
little wacky, especially when it was my parents. So thank you Bryan
Wallpe for your Five Guys Named Moe dancing, Alan LeBard for nailing
Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” Mary Jurkonis and her
fellow “Dolls” in “The Big Dollhouse for hamming it up, to the school
of kids for swimming seamlessly together in your fish hats for “Under
the Sea” and every other performer, producer and behind the scenes crew
member that put your all into creating fun for us in the audience. I
and I’m sure the rest of my fellow audience members, left the theatre
that evening with a feeling of true community in our hearts.

It
might not be as entertaining as a star studded extravaganza, but in
observing the 21 brave souls that are giving of their time and talents
on the Incline Schools Reflective Task Force Committee one can see the
concept of community in action. They are asking hard questions and
tackling tough challenges — not the least of which is coming up with
recommendations for future opportunities for Incline Schools after only
a handful of meetings. Even without a crystal ball, they are
conscientiously working together to research options and make quality
suggestions to the Washoe County School Board designed to ensure a
healthy future for Incline Schools. I invite you to join me in the
community member gallery for the next meeting of the task force to see
for yourself.

I know another place for a truly innovative
community experience. Visit the Donald W. Reynolds Community Non-Profit
Center the second Wednesday morning of any month and immerse yourself
in community collaboration. This is where the member organizations of
the Parasol Community Collaboration and their partners gather together
to do much more than network. Rather, nonprofit agencies, businesses
and community members park their egos at the door, roll up their
sleeves and work toward the common goal of creating a better community
for all of us while effectively using limited community resources.
Since words can’t describe this amazing process, you will have to come
and experience this style of community engagement for yourself.

No
matter how you view community, if you haven’t already, I encourage you
to get involved. This is one spectacular neighborhood where any
individual can have a strong, positive impact. Plus it’s not just any
community — it’s yours.

We at the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation support an engaged and healthy community in all its forms. E-mail us at info@parasol.org to tell us your positive stories of community.

Claudia Andersen is the president of the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation. 

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